This performance sparkles in much the same way as the composer's own recording made with Cluytens in 1959 and which is still my favourite performance. Both have that magic extra ingredient - humour. Too often this concerto and its companion are simply driven too hard as if they were virtuoso works. This is to misunderstand them as both were written with non-virtuosic players in mind.
In addition to humour the concertos are both very lyrical and are more in line with Shostakovich's lighter vein of compositions than some of his more serious utterances. This particular concerto has the unusual feature of coupling an effective solo trumpet part with the piano giving plenty of opportunity for dialogue. Maxim regularly played both the concertos with his father and that inside knowledge has clearly been passed on to his own son, who plays the solo part here.
Both the solo players are excellent on this disc as is the playing of the orchestra. The recording is well up to the high standards expected of Chandos.
The second piece is rather more serious and is a fine arrangement of the 8th string quartet for string orchestra. This is one of the most accessible string quartets from the composer's middle period and the arrangement by Barshai was fully endorsed by the composer to the extent of being given an opus number as if an original work. This performance is very good with plenty of bite and contrasting sensitivity on offer.
However,at 44 minutes this disc offers short playing time. The same can be said of the companion disc. Other discs manage to pair both the concertos plus more and there is now a fine disc of all three string arrangements of the quartets also available.
On purely musical grounds this disc has strong claims to be seriously considered for purchase despite the short playing time. Purchasers who go ahead with the purchase will receive a performance of the concertos that is the closest to Shostakovich's own original recording but in good stereo sound. The original Shostakovich performances of both concertos on one disc was recorded in good mono at a time when recordings were generally made in stereo by default. An inept decision by someone who should have known better.